Marlow resigns after felony conviction
by Michelle Babcock
April 30, 2014 10:15 AM | 4871 views | 7 7 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Kelly Marlow listens while Cherokee County School District Superintendent Dr. Frank Petruzielo provides testimony April 24 in Cherokee County Superior Court Judge Ellen McElyea’s courtroom in the Cherokee County Justice Center in downtown Canton. Marlow sent notice she was resigning her seat the Cherokee County School Board on Wednesday.<br>Staff/C.B. Schmelter
Kelly Marlow listens while Cherokee County School District Superintendent Dr. Frank Petruzielo provides testimony April 24 in Cherokee County Superior Court Judge Ellen McElyea’s courtroom in the Cherokee County Justice Center in downtown Canton. Marlow sent notice she was resigning her seat the Cherokee County School Board on Wednesday.
Staff/C.B. Schmelter
Kelly Marlow sent notice Wednesday she was resigning her seat on the Cherokee County School Board, one day before she was set to be sentenced in her felony conviction for lying to police.

The convicted school board member’s decision means a special election will be called to fill her District 1 seat.

Marlow turned in her resignation to State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge, saying she did not want to leave those she represents “in limbo” while her case continues.

“With considerable appreciation to my supporters and the voters of District 1, and the parents and school children for whom all of my efforts were focused, the recent judicial determinations make it unlikely that I can effectively serve at any time in the foreseeable future,” Marlow wrote in the letter obtained by the Cherokee Tribune. “Rather than leave my seat in limbo while the issues surrounding my status are resolved, it is with an extremely heavy heart that I resign my position with the Cherokee County School Board, effective immediately.”

Elections Supervisor Janet Munda said Wednesday there must be at least 60 days of notice before a special election could be held to fill the seat.

“The Board of Education sets the date and the Board of Elections calls the election,” Munda said.

Though no date has been set for qualifying, or the special election itself, two people said Wednesday they were considering runs for the open seat.

BridgeMill resident Kyla Cromer said Wednesday she’d like to fill the vacancy.

“I’m in the process of getting information to possibly run,” Cromer said Wednesday. “I am interested in the seat.”

Cromer lost to Marlow in the 2012 election by 24 votes and said she’s excited to put her hat in the ring for the special election.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Cromer said. “This is something I really want to do. I’m so excited.”

John Marinko, a member of the Cherokee County Airport Authority and active member of the Cherokee County Republican Party, said he’s been contacted about the seat and is considering a run.

“I am giving that some thought,” Marinko said Wednesday. “I haven’t made a decision on it yet.”

Marinko said he was contacted Sunday by the Cherokee County Republican Party chairman about the vacancy.

“I’ve been contacted by several of the political leaders, as well as civic leaders, to see if I’d be interested in the position,” Marinko said. “I’m flattered that so many people have recommended me.”

Marinko said state Rep. Scot Turner (R-Holly Springs), along with other Republican leaders in the county, recommended he consider the position, but said he wanted to give the opportunity more thought before making a decision on whether or not he’ll run.

Christine Rea, a leader of the nearly 2,000-member group Smart Citizens Realize Academics Matter — previously Smart Citizens Rally Against Marlow — said the group is supporting Cromer for the seat.

“We would definitely support her,” Rea said Wednesday.

Cromer said she wasn’t originally a member of SCRAM when the group formed with the goal to oust Marlow, but joined the group once it changed its name and purpose to Smart Citizens Realize Academics Matter.

Munda said 23,820 voters will be eligible to vote in the District 1 special election to replace Marlow.

District 1 is located in the middle portion of Cherokee County, covering an area stretching from the BridgeMill subdivision on the West to Ranchwood Trail and East Cherokee on the east.

Since more than half of Marlow’s four-year term remains, local law requires the school district to hold a special election to fill the vacant seat, said Cherokee School District spokeswoman Barbara Jacoby.

Marlow’s term expires at the end of 2016, Jacoby said.

Jacoby said School Board Attorney Tom Roach is working with the Cherokee County Elections Office and looking into local laws to determine the correct process for the special election.

“We don’t anticipate that all of the details will be worked out in time for the school board to vote at (Thursday’s) meeting to call an election,” Jacoby said. “That vote could possibly be held at the May 15 meeting.”

Marlow was immediately suspended from the school board Saturday after being convicted of two felonies for lying to police about Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank Petruzielo.

Jacoby cited a few board members who resigned their seats in recent years, either to run for another office or when they moved out of the district they were elected to represent.

In some instances, the school board made appointments to temporarily fill vacancies until an election was held, but Jacoby said the board may continue with six members if an election is scheduled in the near future.

Since board member resignations are uncommon, Jacoby said the school board attorney is still researching local and state law to determine the board’s next steps.

In one instance, a Cherokee School Board member resigned amid an active recall process in 1999.

On Jan. 13, 1999, board member Tim Moxley resigned. The Board of Education held a special called meeting the Sunday after Moxley’s Wednesday letter to formally accept his resignation, and a special election was held March 16, 1999, to fill the vacancy.

Marlow and two of her associates, political adviser Robert Trim and former Secretary of the Cherokee County Republican Party Barbara Knowles, were convicted on multiple felony counts of making false statements Saturday.

The three claimed Petruzielo nearly ran them down with his car after a heated board meeting last year.

Knowles resigned from her role as secretary for the Republican Party, and the Republican Party executive board will discuss Trim’s possible removal from his position as a precinct chairman at an upcoming meeting, said Republican Party Chairman Rick Davies on Tuesday.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
Susan Coffee
May 01, 2014
Kyla Cromer is lying. She was a member of SCRAM the entire time it has been a Facebook group, back when it was still open to the public. Since the group went private to hide their hate and shame, the public can't see what her participation is.
Christine Rea
May 02, 2014
Susan Coffee, I must correct you. Ms. Cromer has NOT been a member of SCRAM the entire time SCRAM has been a Facebook group. She was added 2 months ago by me. I would be more than happy to show you a screen shot of when Ms. Cromer became a member of SCRAM, if you would give me a location to share the information.

The reason SCRAM became a private group was because we were reining in our efforts for a recall.

Once we realized there was not going to be a need for a recall, the acronym SCRAM took on a different meaning. The CCSD and the CCBoE, in it's entirety, became our number one priority.

With that, SCRAM became....

Smart Citizens Realize Academics Matter

The name change reflects our desire to keep the community engaged and informed on all things related to academics in Cherokee County, so that our District can remain focused on what they do best, which is teaching and learning.

Rea is Rong
May 05, 2014
Christine Rea, I must correct you. The title of your Facebook page is still "SCRAM! (Smart Citizens Rally Against Marlow!)", as anyone with an internet connection can see for themselves.

Your little hate group is now completely without a real cause or purpose and, as time will show, has no real interest in keeping "the community engaged and informed on all things related to academics in Cherokee County". The only reason it ever existed was to pursue your personal vendetta against the now-convicted-felon Marlow. Besides the guilty verdict and conviction of her, the other good part of all this circus is that it brings an end to your pathetic little klan of hate-mongers.

Good riddance to all parties!

Christine Rea
May 06, 2014
Facebook policy: Groups with fewer than 250 members can change their names. You can learn how to change your group name here: Groups with 250 members or more won't be able to change their names at this time.

Evidently you are not a member of the group, otherwise you would know this. The name of the group and mission HAS changed, sorry to disappoint you, coward that hides behind a moniker.

The group is NOT completely without a cause and purpose and we will continue to keep the community engaged and informed on all things related to academics in Cherokee County.

The reason SCRAM was conceived was to enlighten the community of a malicious, deceitful person who's only intent was to destroy a school district and a superintendent that she hates.

Unfortunately for you, the group will not be going away, we're just getting started!

Cherokee Parent
May 01, 2014
Kyla Cromer has my support! NO to John Marinko! Marinko was part of the crew that demanded that our four board members renounce their Republican party membership. And he's being courted by Rick Davies, who was the person convicted felon Barbara Knowles called just before she made her felonious phone call to the police last June. Hmmmm.... something's not right here. Vote for Kyla!
Rick Davies
May 02, 2014
Sorry Cherokee Parent, you are 100% wrong. I wasn't called until AFTER the police were notified (as far as I am aware) and only because Barbara, as my board secretary, knew that this would be politicized to no end even thought it happened on their own time and had nothing to do with anything political at all and I was out of state at a work conference in Las Vegas and wasn't aware of any of the circumstances around that evening.

Also, it is part of my job as Chairman to find and recruit qualified candidates to run for elected offices in the county. Vote for who most closely aligns with your political ideals, whoever that may be and not just because you agree or disagree with someone else. That has been and will be part of the problem. Don't vote for someone just because you are friends, acquaintances or any other descriptor. Vote for them because you believe in what they stand for, the ideas and ideals they espouse and the values they possess.

Good day to you anonymous internet commenter.
Christine Rea
May 03, 2014

I have to disagree with you. Cherokee Parent isn't 100% wrong. During the trial(I was there), there was a recorded telephone conversation (I heard it) between Barbara Knowles and Detective Henson. Barbara Knowles clearly stated in that recording that she called her husband, YOU, then the that order.

Perhaps when the case is officially closed and becomes open record, you can request the recording and hear it for yourself.

Also,this could have been a time when the CCRP attempted to distance themselves from any "perceived" meddling and allowed the process to work naturally. Especially considering the close ties of support to the recently convicted individuals. Contacting Mr. Marinko before Marlow resigned or even before the ink on the conviction was dry seems suspect. It's hard not to draw conclusions as to yours and Scot Turners intent.
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